(Lamest insightful pump up ever)
Okay, so I have been having a really lame as hard time getting this blog post done and over with. It is an uncomfortable story, so... here I go, pumping myself up to write and be done with it.
"The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all." ~ The Emperor in "Mulan"
"To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human." ~ Mouse in "The Matrix"
"Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~ Prince of Genovia in "The Princess Diaries"
"Life is not the amount of breaths you take. It's the moments that take your breath away." ~ Alex "Hitch" Hitchens in "Hitch"
"Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'." ~ Andy Dufresne in "The Shawshank Redemption"
"In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. "Mankind." That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom... Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!" ~ President Thomas Whitmore in "Independence Day"
So, this morning I take my time getting to the train station saying goodbye and thanks to June, getting Zeke's info so he can send me his pictures from Shiritoko, and taking a costal walk along the city before my train left at the ungodly hour of 10am (very late to get started on the slow trains).
'Nother rainy day:
Eventually I made it to Shin Hakodate:
My day was gone, and I hadn't even made it out of Hokkaido! Thanfully, tomorrow I would get to switch to the medium speed trains, and then would be mostly on Shinkansen after that, so I should be able to make it to Nagano, get my camera, and then head over to Matsumoto and see the castle, and get all the way to Kamakura all in one day. ^_^* Only down side was I had to cross the tunnel tomorrow, but that was a nice thing to get to put off for another day because today's very slow trains had put me on my last nerve.
As it was, when I got off the train the info desks were just about to close, and they told me that there were no hostles or cheep accomidation in the city! The best they could do was the Toyooka hotel (figures), but then the woman told me about this Onsen. It was quite pricy for an Onsen since it was a very upscale 24 hour Onsen, but for an extra $8 US dollars I could gain use of the "nap" room, and just sleep there! This sounded perfect for me, pay $22 for the hot pools, then $8 for a bed, and it was about the same price of getting a hostel without the hot pools. Worked for me, only the busses stopped running at 6pm... and it was after 6. She said that it was about 15 minutes on bus, so walking it was going to be almost an hour, but I had time since I had no plans for the evening, so in the rain at sunset, I began my long walk with all my gear strapped to my back.
About 30 minutes later, walking down the street the Onsen should be on, in the dark, in the rain, a car actually pulls over and stops for me! "Konbonwa" I said to the girl in the car, who was surprised by my Japanese, but spoke to me knowingly in English anyways. "Do you want a ride? Where are you going?" I showed her the brochure, and sure enough, she pointed to the huge neon sigh just a little further up the road. "Oh, that is really close now, thank you so much!" She explained to me that its easy to miss because it doesn't have the name written on it, just a real impressionist neon sign of a man in a hot pool... (was that what it was?) And like one of those magic eye tricks, after staring at it for a few moments, I saw it... ("there is a sailboat!" - Mallrats) I thanked her, but we agreed that it was easier for me just to walk it rather than try and stuff all my gear in her tiny car, so she drove off, and I soon made it to the Onsen.
There they spoke absolutely no English... it was going to be a fun night. Between my Japanese and their sign language we managed to get me a shoe locker in the general area, a big locker in the women's room, and they escorted me to the woman's "nap room" just up the stairs from the casino/ bar. The nap room had a bunch of single sofas on the floor that looked like they just chopped the legs off a lazy boy recliner. They also had blankets, and that was about it. A dim light stayed on in the room always so you could easily make your way in and out of the room without disturbing anyone, and at the time I came in there was only one woman in there sleeping, and she was about 90. I have to say, other than the staff, I had to be the only person in there under 40, but it was nice, quiet, and fairly empty. I had to take my clothes off and put on their nightie which was basically a long pink and white stripped t-shirt that went just below my knees. All the other women's went to the floor pretty much, but I don't think they had a pink one long enough for me. The men were all in shorter tees that were blue and white stripped and blue shorts (this will be important in a few hours to note, hence the mention now... foreshadowing if you will).
First I tried logging onto their internet, but it was so slow that all I could be bothered doing was checking my emails, then I put it away in my women's large locker, and then got naked and hopped into my own personal Onsen. There were about 5 different pools indoors, and one outside, and they were all empty. There were two women showering off, but that was it. I started out in the "baby pool" with the mushroom fountain you could hide under like being inside a waterfall. Then I moved to the pool with the rocks in the center that had hot water poring down them like a creek into a pond, very nice. Next I maned up and moved to the pool that looked like a flooded, 3 sided sauna. The wooden logs lining the pool were strangely comfortable, but the water was simply too hot. I tried to be polite when an older woman came in and started talking to me, but between my limited Japanese, and my pure whimpyness, I had to cut off our conversation. "Atsui des ne!" "Hot isn't it?" I told the woman as I made a fanning motion to my face. "Hi, so desu!" She agreed, but continued even lower into the water (show off). At this point I headed outside where I was completely alone. The water in this pool came from a black pipe that was probably once hidden completely inside the wooden log that jutted out from the rock mound. This pool was the nicest decorated with plants and rocks surrounding the whole pool, and the inside of the pool was all rocks, no tile at all. I stayed out here for an hour or so just staring at the full moon through the trees, thinking, contemplating, and working out what to do with myself for the rest of my life. I was over the joy of my freedom from Joe a bit, and was settling into the inevitable uncertainty of who I was without him, and the options that were once closed to me began opening, not in an excited way as before, but in a thoughtful planning sort of a way. Europe I decided. Europe was a closed door with Joe, and now it was a path I would travel along without him. This, I thought, was a good note to go to sleep on.
I showered up and headed for the "nap room." I had to have the guy at the front desk lead me there again because I got lost and all the signs were written in Kanji (Chinese). Then from there he pointed out the security guard who he told me would be waking around checking up on the rooms every hour. "Arigato" I said, and then went inside. There were about 15 women in bed now, and they took up most of the "front" of the room where it was darkest, but there was still one dark corner in back, so I grabbed it up with my blanket, curled it up to my chin, and then fell asleep.
Have you ever woken up to an itch you needed to scratch, or maybe a limb that has fallen asleep over the course of the night, or maybe even a cat walking across your sheets? Well, when I woke up this morning (god, my heart is already racing even now, a year later as I write this), I felt my right breast sort of needing readjusting or something like that... and I opened my eyes, went to roll over onto my side... and there was a man, sitting cross legged next to my sofa bed, with his hand fully cupping my breast! My eyes opened fully in a wave of shock, and I bolted into a seated position. HIs movement followed in kind, his eyes opened wide, and he moved from a seated position to full up standing as he bolted out the door! I sat there for a moment, shocked, stunned, scared, alone, cold, shaking now, and completely clueless of what to do! I eventually stood up, and made my way outside the woman's nap room. The hall was empty. I walked down the stairs, afraid of running into him, not that I should have been, he should have been afraid of me, so with that in mind, I kept walking. The same kid was at the front desk, and I didn't know what to tell him, so I went to my locker in the woman's shower room, and I got my Japanese book.
"Sumimasen, demo..." "Sorry, but..." I began, not sure how to do this, still shaking a bit, and my voice following in kind. Just say it damn it!
"Chikan" "Molester" I told him. "Ohhhh?" He said. (Did she say what she wanted? Did she mean what I think she meant?) I could tell his thought process, so I got out my book, and I pointed to the word. "Josei no heya de chikan" "In the woman's room there was a molester." There was even a picture of a chibi man touching a chibi woman, there was no mistaking the accusation. I then flipped to the anatomy page. "Otoko no te" I pointed to the hand on the male half of the anatomy page. "Watashi no mune" "My breast" I told him, but I pointed to the woman anatomy picture rather than at my own. Eventually, his confusion did lead me to grabbing myself to make my point, as you can see, I was getting very frustrated. "Ohhhh!" finally the point seemed to get through. He got a bunch of people together, and I was grilled in Japanese. "Kare wa dono yōna monodeshita" "What did he look like?" At this juncture I was so ready to say "Anata!" "You!" But I curbed that instinct. I explained that he was wearing the same pajama's all the men were wearing, and that his face looked kinda like everyone else as well, however, he had a very American looking haircut. Explaining it was easy because there was a clothing page and a face page and a hair page, but just to be clear, I drew the worst picture of my life. Still, a man in Japan having very short hair, almost buzzed along the side of his ears, and then long and almost spiky above was very rare. Their haircuts were usually far less styled here unless they were younger, and I pegged this guy for in his forties, which probably make him 50 something, so I told them that too. The security guard apologized to me over and over, and then he went out on the prowl. They told me to go and talk it easy for a while in the woman's baths, and that there is no way he could get in there since the front desk is right in front of the male and female entrances. Since it was only 6 in the morning, and my bus to the train station didn't start until 9am, I decided to follow his advice.
I tried to relax as best as I could, but I was shaken. My first night alone without Joe (or a friend like June), and I get molested!!! I guess everyone wasn't being silly when they told me they were happy to know I was traveling with a boy. His mere presence kept me safe... fuck that! I regretted getting molested, but I was not about to give into needing a man in my life to keep me safe. Sure it helps, but I can handle this crap. I'm not sure if it was the nearly boiling water, or if it was just my hate making me warm, but my muscles were beginning to relax with the heat. When I finally felt calmed down I got out of the pools, showered, and then logged onto the internet from inside the woman's locker room. This many of the naked women wondering around found very strange, but I couldn't be bothered to care. "I don't want to go outside, bad man." I told one woman who asked me if I was okay. She wanted to know if there was anything she could do, but I told her that I was going to be fine, I just needed to stay in here for a little while. She smiled, and left for the hot pools. Not too sure on my Japanese on that one, I think she may have been smiling and nodding as you do when you don't have the slightest clue what was going on, but I kept saying "Dijobu des" "I'm okay" so that seemed to be enough for her.
When I came out fully packed and ready to leave, the man told me that it was going to be 2,800 yen. "Oh?" I said, expecting to get the night for free since I got molested and all... but I couldn't be bothered to argue with him, so I just handed him my credit card. After I left the place I felt used physically and financially, and the feeling didn't leave me all the way walking to the train station as cars would drive by, splashing last nights rain all over me.